Queensland Law Society

Can I threaten to report another party’s solicitor to the QLS or LSC if they won't reply?

The Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 ('ASCR') (applying of course only to solicitors) has introduced a new rule (there was no equivalent in the now repealed 2007 rules):

32. Unfounded allegations

32.1 - A solicitor must not make an allegation against another Australian legal practitioner of unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct unless the allegation is made bona fide and the solicitor believes on reasonable grounds that available material by which the allegation could be supported provides a proper basis for it.

Complaints about a solicitor’s conduct can only be made to the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

More generally, this question raises similar issues to the FAQ In a civil dispute, can I threaten to report the other party to the police if they don’t comply with my client’s demands? Rule 34.1.2 of the ASCR is again relevant. Take care not to threaten the institution of disciplinary proceedings. You should be sure that the circumstances are such as to warrant a complaint, and you might usefully confirm this with colleagues or a Senior Counsellor from the QLS panel.

You should also appreciate that there may be no action the LSC can take. The other solicitor may be acting on instructions, or there may be some other reason for this lack of response. Such matters may be confidential or privileged and the other solicitor may not be able or willing to provide details, even to the LSC.

The solution may be to write direct to the other party about the lack of reply from their solicitor. You may do this provided that you follow a certain process – see Rule 33.1.4 of the ASCR.